CSKA Moscow, the dominant club in VTB League Basketball history, is sitting in yet another finals series after completing a semi-final sweep over Lokomotiv Krasnodar. The Army Men took Game 3 of the series with a 74-66 road win to book its berth in the title showdown.
Either Zenit St. Petersburg or Khimki Moscow Region will join CSKA Moscow in the final run, once their series is decided. Either way, it will be very hard to dethrone a CSKA time that is hunting its sixth consecutive VTB League title and is among the best in Europe. Yes, the team slipped in the EuroLeague Final Four a week ago, but CSKA is a major force that will take some stopping.
Out of the two potential opponents, Khimki can point to the history books as the only club to topple CSKA and claim the VTB League crown. However, that was six years ago and CKSA Moscow seven of eight teams. Since the finals went to a home and away series format, the Army Men have been unstoppable, dropping just two finals run games in four seasons.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. CSKA Moscow, 66-74
In Krasnodar on Wednesday, CSKA showed why it is almost certain to win the title. The team had arguably got the easy work done by winning Game 1 and Game 2 in front of its own fans in Moscow. The test would come on the road, but the team passed with ease.
The visitors dropped 23 points in the first quarter to open a solid six-point advantage at the end of the first. In the second frame, CSKA turned the screw and used a 20-14 run to create a sizeable 43-31 lead through the long break. A 19-10 third act all but killed the game as the guests took a 62-41 lead through thirty minutes. Lokomotiv is a team noted for its fighting spirit, and it showed again in the fourth quarter. The hosts took the final frame 12-25 to at least put pressure on CSKA down the stretch. However, the game never looked in doubt as CSKA lead from tip off to closing buzzer.
Milos Teodosic scored 16 points and Nando De Colo scored 13 points in the win.
Maurice Collins propped up Lokomotiv with a game-high 18 points.